30 years later, Roland Ratzenberger forever in the shadows

Although varied, the Austrian's laborious career was swept away by a fatal accident during his third attempt at a Grand Prix start, on April 30, 1994. Time has taken its toll and new initiatives allow us to take a fresh look. on a pilot who has never had it easy.

Published on 30/04/2024 à 09:10

Medhi Casaurang

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30 years later, Roland Ratzenberger forever in the shadows

© DPPI

Does a life have unique value? This question, a priori highly philosophical, actually found a simple answer on May 1, 1994. It has been thirty years since enlightened enthusiasts of Formula 1 know it. No, a life does not have the same value. The death of Ayrton Senna made him an instant icon through the magic of live television, and the shock wave was so strong that three decades later, the Imola circuit erected a giant banner bearing the effigy of the Brazilian shortly before the start of the World Championship eventEndurance (WEC). Drivers, who were not even born at the time of the accident in the Tamburello curve, found in the three-time F1 world champion a model to follow, even to the point of resuming his colors on the helmet. And Roland Ratzenberger then?

Apart from Philipp Eng 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019, the red and white colors of the Austrian flag worn by the Salzburg native faded. No stele has been erected on the Enzo e Dino circuit Ferrari from Imola. However, his fatal accident was captured by the cameras in the Tosa curve during qualifying on Saturday. The image was perhaps even more chilling. But he was not a motorsport star, much less a reference to follow. The little world of F1 therefore seemed to have moved on the next day. After all, a sad exit from the track, especially at the wheel of a reluctant car, is a pitfall that hangs over the nose of every rookie in F1.

The dichotomy between Senna and Ratzenberger has never ceased since

Medhi Casaurang

Passionate about the history of motorsport across all disciplines, I learned to read thanks to AUTOhebdo. At least that's what my parents tell everyone when they see my name inside!

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